Sussex-based racehorse rehoming and retraining charity The Racehorse Sanctuary has announced that seven-time champion National Hunt jockey John Francome is joining the team as patron! Also a known as a successful author and television presenter, John’s patronage will help to boost the profile of this charity. Despite its small size, it’s clear the Sanctuary carries out vital work to help horses when they leave the track. John will join other high-profile patrons of the charity including Jilly Cooper and Richard Hoiles who together ensure that the wider racing and equestrian community are aware of the charity’s aims and ambitions.

John said:

“The welfare of horses is something I care about deeply. I am proud to have been involved with the Racehorse Sanctuary over a number of years, so becoming a patron was a natural progression.”

The Racehorse Sanctuary was founded in 2006 by Graham Oldfield and Sue Collins, who still run the charity in West Sussex today. Their experience running the Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre gave them the idea. They decided to found a racehorse rehoming operation with a slightly different focus. When there is constant pressure to rehome residents and meet financial targets, sometimes tricky horses can be a problem. The pair wanted to start a rehoming centre that would give horses all the time in the world to adjust. 

This allows the sanctuary to take on horses with issues which mean they need longer-term rehabilitation. There is also space at the Racehorse Sanctuary for a number of horses who will never be suitable for rehoming. These two factors add to the pressure on the team. They need to drum up enough financial support to both assess and retrain horses and care for long-term equine residents. Fundraising is a year-round job and one that constantly weighs on the team’s minds. 

Racehorse Sanctuary residents grazing in summer

Graham comments: 

“We are so pleased to announce that John Francome is joining the Racehorse Sanctuary as patron. The support of such a high-profile figure is simply incredible news! We work very hard to ensure that horses leaving the racing industry in UK are given the opportunity to thrive. John’s big personality, incredible knowledge of horses and his network of connections in the industry will benefit our residents. Thank you, John!”.

To learn more about the Racehorse Sanctuary and find out how you can support them, please click here. The charity launched their spring fundraising campaign recently, The Sick and Injured Horses Appeal – just head here to donate.